Telltale Games is on a high after their humongously successful Walking Dead: The Game (Free). If you doubt that, go here to check out the ridiculous amount of awards it has won. Any game that releases after a massive hit always has a harder time living up to expectations which is why it was probably smart of Telltale Games to release another one of their most popular IPs to help offset the expectations. Enter Poker Night 2 which hit the App Store Thursday night. Sadly, they seem to have fallen victim to the classic Telltale blunder of releasing iOS ports that are choppy, glitchy, and overall just not up to snuff with any other version of the game.
Poker Night 2 ($4.99) itself is the sequel to their PC game Poker Night at the Inventory released in 2010. The sequel continues the tradition of bringing together many of their (as well as other developers’) popular characters. This specific installment features Claptrap (Borderlands 2), Brock Samson (The Venture Bros.), Ash (Army of Darkness), Sam (Sam and Max series) and GLaDOS from the Portal titles as your dealer.
For a game that lives and dies on its well established and famous characters, Poker Night 2 actually succeeds in this regard. There are lengthy dialogues intertwined between plays (which can be frustrating if you’re trying to play a quick game), and actual playing styles that are true to each character. They’ve done a great job meshing these characters in way that feels ultimately rewarding to those players who have played the characters’ solo titles. My favorite’s have got to be the sometimes off putting (in a good way) decision to make GLaDOS as your dealer.
The game has Texas hold ‘em and Omaha hold ‘em as your poker games. It does little variance (if at all) to these games which I enjoyed. My problem rests on being able to play the game at a “faster” pace. First, there aren’t any standard ways to fast forward through some cutscenes and dialogues per se. But worse yet, Poker Night 2 can get very choppy and often times laggy while playing. This is a constant problem with the game engine they use and direct port to iOS. In fact, this goes all the way back to our Jurassic Park: The Game ($2.99). Things have vaguely improved since then, but this has more to do with the hardware catching up to their engine’s requirements. Telltale has got to do some serious tweaking for iOS ports in the future.
Poker Night 2’s other big advantage is that tokens must be earned and cannot be bought. This provides much needed push to compete and actually win games. Said tokens can be used to buy in game items hardcore gamers should feel pretty happy about. The game’s got lot a lot of personality and character but falls short on actual playability on mobile which can be said for most of Telltale iOS games… sadly. I only recommend buying the game if you’re a dedicated fan of the series and want to play on the go, or if you’re willing to make do with said existing issues to play a game of poker with some of your favorite “friends".
Much like the Walking Dead game and other iOS Telltale titles, if your iOS device is the only way you have to experience them then they’re worth checking out, but if you’ve got any other piece of kit capable of running these games you’ll have a substantially better experience regardless of whether you’re playing on a PC or home console.